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Internal Market: ESA finds that Iceland excludes State liability for damages caused by its courts




The EFTA Surveillance Authority has found that Icelandic law precludes individuals from seeking damages when courts of last instance breach EEA law. The Authority reached this conclusion following examination of a complaint by an individual alleging to have sustained damages as a result of a wrong interpretation of EEA law by the Supreme Court of Iceland.

As a consequence, the Authority today issued a reasoned opinion requiring Iceland to comply with the general principle of State liability for breaches of EEA law, which extends to liability for judicial breaches.

The Authority considers that the possibility that a State may be rendered liable for judicial decisions contrary to EEA law does not pose any risk to the independence of the courts.

Nor is the finality of the decisions of the courts called into question: The principle of State liability requires compensation for loss, but not a revision of the final judgment.

A reasoned opinion is the second stage in infringement proceedings. The Authority may bring the matter before the EFTA Court if Iceland fails to take the measures necessary to comply with the reasoned opinion within two months.


For further information, please contact:

Mr. Andreas Kjeldsberg Pihl
Press & Information Officer
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 66
mob. (+32)(0)492 900 187


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